Commercial power generation begins at Kudankulam Nuclear power plant

India’s largest nuclear reactor at Kudankulam has started generating electricity on a commercial basis after it received green signal from Nuclear Power Corporation(NPC).

This 1000 MW reactor made with Russia’s help is generating electricity only on an experimental basis after its turbine had suffered damage a few months ago. After repairing these damages it has started generating full 1000 MW of power.

Power generated form this reactor will provide much needed relief to Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Karnataka and Kerala where power output will be augmented.

The reactor made at a cost of over Rs. 8000 crores has been much delayed and activists have called it ‘unsafe’.

The second 1000 MW unit at Kudankulam is likely to come online in 2015.

Facts about Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant

Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant is a nuclear power station in Koodankulam in Tamil Nadu with a capacity of generating 2000 MW with 2 reactors.

Advantages of KNPP

  • It’s a technologically proven design.
  • Inbuilt safety features to minimize the risk of any radiation leaks.
  • The location is least earthquake prone area.
  • Its height ensures safety from potential tsunamis.

Government meets target of opening 10-crore accounts under PM Jan Dhan Yojana

Government has met its target of opening 10 crore bank accounts under its flagship scheme of Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY). This target was met a month before its revised deadline of 26 January 2015.

Key facts

  • As of 24 December 2014, 10 crore accounts have been opened under the PMJDY scheme with a collective deposit amounting to Rs 7,690.89 crore.
  • In this regard, a total of 7.74 crore RuPay debit cards have also been issued by banks to beneficiaries.
  • States likes Goa, Kerala, Tripura and Madhya Pradesh and union territories (UT’s) of Chandigarh, Puducherry and Lakshadweep have opened at least one bank account in every targeted household i.e. they have attained 100 per cent financial inclusion under PMJDY .
  • However, nearly two-thirds of all opened bank accounts continue to have zero balance and  7.35 crore bank accounts are currently dormant.

About Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY)

It was launched on 28th August 2014 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the goal of eradicating financial untouchability of the poor by opening at least one bank account for every family in the country in less than six months. It seeks to financially empower the poor by providing them access to formal banking system.

Initially, after its launch the scheme had a target of opening 7.5 crore bank accounts by 26 January, 2015, but later it was revised and raised to 10 crore bank accounts.

President signs ordinances on insurance, coal sector reforms

President Pranab Mukherjee has signed ordinances moved by Union government on raising foreign direct investment (FDI) cap to 49 per cent in insurance sector and facilitating e-auction of coal blocks.

Earlier, in this regard Union Cabinet had approved promulgation of an Ordinance on Insurance Bill and re-promulgation of the Coal Ordinance.

Government opted for ordinance route because

  • The Insurance Laws Amendment Bill, 2008 was not able to pass in Rajya Sabha because of the logjam in upper house. It aims hike the FDI cap in the insurance sector from 29 per cent to 49 per cent. It will help to capital inflow of $6-8 billion.
  • The Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill, 2014 was passed by the Lok Sabha in December 2014, but was stalled in Rajya Sabha. It seeks to facilitate e-auction of coal blocks for private companies for captive use and allot mines directly to state and central PSUs.

These ordinances will pave the way for additional foreign investment in insurance sector and to move ahead with the re-allocation of cancelled coal mines. Thus facilitating reforms in these sectors.

Article 123 of Constitution: It gives legislative power to President. He can issue ordinances when Parliament is in recess i.e. not in session if there is urgent need to have a law on some urgent public matter.  The ordinance has similar effect to an act of parliament.

However, every ordinance must be laid and approved by both houses of the parliament within 6 weeks from the reassembling.  If not placed and approved by both houses of the parliament after reassembling it becomes invalid.